Banned Elite Wolves vying for redemption at WePlay LAN

It has been one month since Valve rocked the Peruvian Dota 2 community by banning four of Elite Wolves’ players from all future Valve events.

The players – Iwo Bejar “iwo” Kalinowski, Bryan Freddy “SmAsH” Machaca Siña, Juan Carlos Tito “VanN” Carrizales, and Ricardo Roman “mstco” Sandoval – were banned for fixing official games with no chance of an appeal. While the team has been removed from most third party tournaments, the Peruvian squad has been allowed to remain as competitors in this week’s WePlay Dota Season 3 LAN Finals. Because Elite Wolves qualified for the event before the ban was issued by Valve – winning 13 games and losing only one – WePlay decided to uphold the qualification.

Now SmAsH, VanN and mstco will be making their first LAN appearance in almost a year, their last event being The Summit 3, which they attended with the team Not Today.

WePlay never released a statement regarding the status of Elite Wolves as finalists in the upcoming tournament. While many other tournaments, like the seventh season of Canada Cup, chose to not include the Peruvian team in order to preserve the integrity of their competition, WePlay appear confident that Elite Wolves will play to win at the high-profile LAN event.

Spectators might question why a team recently banned for match fixing is allowed to play on the big stage in Kiev, Ukraine, and it’s certainly a fair question. Regardless, will make for an enticing storyline.

In a statement on his Facebook fan page, SmAsH appeared somber and repentant (translated from Spanish):

“With regard to the ‘match fixing’ scandal: I won’t deny that there was match fixing, and it doesn’t matter who had the idea because at the end of the day we all agreed to it. I am extremely sad and embarrassed by all of this, that our work has been spotted in this way, I can only apologize for it. I know you learn from your mistakes and this has been a hard lesson for us.”

The unfortunate reality is that what’s done is done. SmAsH and his teammates are at a crossroads, and WePlay might decide the future of their professional careers. As players who were the faces of Peruvian Dota 2 for so long, the scandal of match fixing might loom over them for as long as they play the game. But playing on the international stage against some of the best talent that North America, Europe and Korea have to offer, Elite Wolves has the chance to prove they are not defined by their mistakes.

They might be down and out, banned by Valve and pariahs in the community, but if Elite Wolves do the impossible and perform well at WePlay, it might be a consolation for the team’s remaining fans. Peruvian Dota might not be as doomed as some thought it would be after five of their brightest stars – including Jesus “Ztok” Carhuaricra – were banned, but only if the Wolves can pick themselves up and bring one last triumphant fight to Kiev.

Cover photo by NIVIDIA (flickr)

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